Champions League enjoyment lies in following the storylines

Lars Baron

There's plenty of us who love every minutes of the Champions League but there are also as many in the soccer community who are simply not interested. The key to finding enjoyment in UEFA's annual mega tournament is paying attention to the story lines.

Come on! Two games with a combined 8-1 scoreline! What's interesting about that? I know you're out there, the soccer fans who looked at the headlines after this week's Champions League semifinals first legs and scoffed at the apparent absurdity of the whole thing.

You said to yourself, why would I want to waste my time watching two blowouts? What could next week's second leg matches possibly have to offer me?

I can understand the feeling, I really do get it, but I also think you're wrong and all you've actually accomplished is robbing yourself of another glorious layer of soccer storyline goodness.

Every human at some level loves a good story, we love having the details laid on thick like an extra layer of peanut butter or Nutella on our toast...if that's your thing. Before we ever developed written languages, human culture was built on a foundation of storytelling and passing down the tales of our past to the next generation by telling them about what that had come before.

The Champions League is much the same in an admittedly modern form. It's storytelling at it's best, weaving and building every year upon the layers of the past, creating new and exciting ways for us to not only enjoy the spectacle, but to enjoy the sport itself.

This year's semifinals, despite being on the verge of being over after the first legs, still offer up some brillant storytelling possibilities. Beyond even what they've already given us.

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund's stunning demolitions of Barcelona and Real Madrid have signaled the rise for German soccer into the sightline of the mainstream. These two teams have been doing great things for awhile, especially Bayern, and while their success is hardly surprising to the regular observer, the more casual fan is just getting to know the greatness that is happening in Deutschland.

Dortmund's amazing rise from the brink of financial ruin to being 90 minutes from a Champions League final would be a grand enough tale by itself for many, but it's just the beginning of what we could still get from the second legs next week.

Bayern Munich are looking to redeem themselves after their collapse against Chelsea in the 2012 Final in their home stadium.

Barcelona and Real Madrid, two of the most talented and expensive teams in the world, were absolutely embarrassed and by proxy, embarrassed Spanish soccer.

Those stories alone are great but there's potential for even more next week.

More from our team blogs: Bayern Munich blog Bavarian Football Works

If Dortmund and Bayern finish the job we'll witness the the first all-German final in the history of both the Champions League and the European Cup. Since it's creation in 1955, only twice have teams from the same country met in a final -- Real Madrid vs. Valencia in 2000 and Manchester United vs. Chelsea in 2008 -- so that by itself would be an historic event and a great story to be told.

If either Real Madrid or Barcelona comeback to win their tie, it would be one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history. Madrid would be able to equal Deportivo La Coruña's stunning second leg recovery against AC Milan in 2004 when Depor overcame a 4-1 first leg loss at the San Siro and won 4-0 at home to advance to the semifinals.

Barcelona would write an entirely new line in the history books if they can somehow turn around their 4-0 deficit against Bayern. No team in the history of the Champions League has ever come back from a 4-0 defeat in the first leg to advance. That would be a story that has never been written before.

Imagine if they both pull off the comeback.

Despite the results there are still plenty of reasons to tune in next week for the second leg matches in Spain. Even if you missed the first legs, the highlights are out there and you have a week to catch up. Don't deny yourself an opportunity to not only see great soccer but watch as a new story in the legend of the beautiful game is written.

No matter what happens, you're going to witness soccer history. What's not fun about that?

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Bayern Munich vs. Barcelona: Reliving the Bavarians’ romp

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